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I just returned from a very rewarding business trip to Thailand, where I visited some of the country’s best resort and destination spas that were deemed No. 1 by their clientele and communities. The facilities themselves were every bit as impressive as the honors and awards bestowed upon many of them. The beautiful Chiva-Som is a luxury tropical health retreat that is located in the royal beach resort of Hua Hin, about 130 miles south of Bangkok. It sprawls across 7 acres of beachfront landscaped gardens, and is a world-renowned health spa dedicated to revitalizing the mind, body and spirit for total well-being and vitality. More than 100 treatments and activities are offered, including spa, holistic, fitness and physiotherapy. The spa resort has continually won awards from 1998 through 2005, the most recent including Condé Nast Traveller (UK) Travel Reader’s Spa Award Runner Up, the Best Overseas Destination Spa Retreat (2005); SpaFinder Magazine Reader’s Choice Award for Best Spa Cuisine (2005); and four SpaAsia Crystal Awards (2005).
The Oriental Spa made its debut in 1993 and is widely recognized as a pioneer of the Thai spa industry, featuring treatments that draw on traditional 2,000-year-old Thai healing techniques and herbal preparations. It recently underwent a $1.2 million renovation, which featured improved in-suite facilities, including temperature-controlled scrub tables and a vitality pool designed to stimulate all the senses with a full-body water jet massage. The Oriental Spa regularly is voted Best Spa in the World by Travel + Leisure magazine, as well as Best Spa in Luxury Travel by the Robb Report.
This medical spa is situated in the heart of a new bustling shopping center—reportedly the largest in Asia. It is this location that helps the spa to obtain the type of client it is targeting—middle- to upper-income baby boomers and Gen-Xers, many of whom bring in their teenage children for acne treatments. This unique facility recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary of being an exclusive Thai distributor of Repêchage products.
The Thai Heritage Spa Company Limited beat out 16 other spa company candidates in 2003 to create and operate the inclusive Sivalai Spa, located at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, which is owned by the Crown Property Bureau of Thailand. This spa concept was created by Sarah Kajonborrirak and was inspired by her ancestors. It is an indigenous spa that presents the culture of Thai massage and its traditional use of Thai herbs. In fact, Kajonborrirak won The Executive Woman of the Year 2003 Award for the Best Innovation Organization by the Foundation for the Thai Society.
Upon my return to the states, I was thrilled to learn that Skin Inc. magazine also picked up a new honor and is the proud recipient of a 2006 Tabbie Award. Our entry, the feature article “Spa Cuisine,” by Kate Hamilton, published in the June 2005 issue of Skin Inc. magazine, won an honorable mention in the Feature Article category. With almost 800 editorial and design entries from across the globe, winning this award is certainly an impressive achievement—one in which our entire staff takes pride. I also want to express my pride in Kate’s work. It was this very feature article that gave birth to the monthly “Spa Cuisine” column that debuted in January 2006. Kate’s research for this article also led us to discover editorial advisory board member Chef Steve Pernetti, of Cal-a-Vie Spa Haven in Vista, California.